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2021 NFL Mock Draft with explanations for each pick (3 rounds) + Prospect rankings.

Hey everyone. Warning this is a massive post, but im sure that's normal here!
Decided to do an early mock and prospect analysis. I operate a 49ers blog and Slack server, and had done this with them, but I decided to share it here. fortheniners.com is my website if you want to check it out for more stuff, but it's mostly 49ers oriented. Give me some feedback, would love to hear it from you guys.
I created a custom order based on the rest of the season and i simulated the rest. Some picks might be switched in the 2nd round and 3rd due to the reordering of picks, but mostly it should be OK. I felt this order fit how I think the NFL will shake out by the end of season. I can't get the picks to number for some reason correctly.

Positional Rankings

QB:
  1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  2. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
  3. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
  4. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
  5. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
  6. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
  7. D’Eriq King, QB, Miami
  8. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
  9. Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
  10. Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
RB:
  1. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
  2. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
  3. Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
  4. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
  5. Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
TE:
  1. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
  2. Pat Friermuth, TE, Penn State
  3. Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
  4. Hunter Long, TE, Iowa State
  5. Grant Calcaterra, TE, Oklahoma
WR:
  1. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
  2. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
  3. Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
  4. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
  5. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
OT:
  1. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
  2. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
  3. Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
  4. Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
  5. Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
OG/OC:
  1. Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
  2. Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma
  3. Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee
  4. Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
  5. Josh Myers, OG, Ohio State
DT:
  1. Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
  2. Jay Tufele, DT, USC
  3. Jaylen Twyman, DT, Pittsburgh
  4. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
  5. Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU
DE:
  1. Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
  2. Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
  3. Quincy Roche, DE, Miami
  4. Carlos Basham Jr, DE, Wake Forest
  5. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
LB:
  1. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
  2. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
  3. Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
  4. Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
  5. Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
CB:
  1. Patrick Surtain Jr, CB, Alabama
  2. Caleb Farley, CB, Virgina
  3. Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
  4. Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
  5. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
S:
  1. Jevon Holland, FS, Oregon
  2. Paris Ford, SS, Pittsburgh
  3. Hamsah Nasirlideen, SS, Florida State
  4. Caden Sterns, FS, Texas
  5. Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

3 ROUND MOCK

1st Round

NYJ - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  • Maybe the best QB prospect… ever. Lawrence brings what the Jets have lacked for a very long time. “It”. Lawrence is almost a flawless QB prospect, complete with elite physical tools, mental tools, experience in big games, and the football IQ to be one of the best QBs ever.
JAX - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
  • Make no mistake. Justin Fields is not a consolation prize. The Ohio State product is one of the best QB prospects in recent memory as well, with exceptional arm talent, elite ability to make throws on the run, athleticism, leadership, and good decision making. Gifted with a strong arm and a very good deep ball, he will do well on a team that can build around him. He’s also part of the new generation of mobile QBs - Fields is expected to run in the 4.4s.
WAS - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
  • Wilson is an interesting prospect. The eye-test shows a mega-talented QB with a knack for big plays, but reading in between the lines, his prospects become murky. Playing against a low level of competition, Wilson has never been truly under pressure from a pass rush during a game. Regardless, Wilson might be the most naturally gifted playmaker in this class - his ability to make throws on the run and extend plays is reminiscent of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and more, and his arm talent fits that category. One year wonder, sure, but Wilson can be a superstar.
NYG - Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
  • Passing on the best tackle prospect in recent memory is probably a bad idea. Unfortunately, Dave Gettleman has a penchant for that. Rousseau is a very raw albeit extremely talented pass rusher from Miami. Despite being underdeveloped as a pass rusher, his physical gifts alone made him a top pass rusher last season, trailing only Chase Young as the best pass rusher in college. The Giants add another big man to a talented DL, along with Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. Rousseau is oozing with potential, and with his length, burst, and strength, can become a force that will terrorize the NFC East. Rousseau is going to test very well at the combine as well.
CIN - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
  • Joe Burrow is screaming for joy. Sewell is the best OT prospect, arguably since Joe Thomas, or Trent Williams - he has everything. This is almost a cant-miss pick for Cincinatti, and it gives them two young, bookend tackles in Sewell and 2019 1st round pick Jonah Williams to protect the Heisman award winning QB.
DAL - Patrick Surtain Jr, CB, Alabama
  • Dallas is not as bad as this pick slot indicates, but regardless, they pick due to their injury concerns. Drafting on the defense has to be the priority here, and why not reunite Surtain Jr with his former Alabama teammate, and fellow DB in Trevon Diggs? It fills a need and is arguably the BPA at this spot.
LAC - Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
  • While they missed out on Sewell, longtime blindside protector for Justin Herbert, Leatherwood is a great prospect in his own right. A well rounded OL with experience in a tough conference like the SEC, Leatherwood is a stalwart that can start at guard or tackle, giving the Chargers a piece they can put anywhere on the line to protect Herbert, and he is NFL-ready on Day 1.
DET - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
  • Passing on Micah Parsons! How? Last time they picked a LB in the first round, it was Jarrad Davis, and they were burned, badly. Instead, they opt for the explosive WR out of Alabama, marking 3 straight picks from Tuscaloosa. Waddle is a game-breaker, stirring up comparisons to Tyreek Hill - and rightfully so. His speed is incredible, and his hands and route running are right up there as well, and he brings rare instincts and elusiveness. Waddle was the best WR in college before getting injured this season. Waddle adds the last piece to the Detroit offense, giving them a great group around Matthew Stafford who is entering the twilight of his career - with Waddle, Golladay, Jones Jr, Swift, and Hockenson, the Lions have the makings of a very good offense.
MIA - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
  • Brian Flores would sprint to the podium to pick up Parsons if this was the scenario. The former LB coach grabs one of the most gifted LB prospects in a long time, and he fits the Dolphins at one of their biggest positions of need, with Raekwon McMillan gone. Parsons forms a fearsome LB duo next to Jerome Baker, and brings rare instincts, speed, and physicality to Miami.
DEN - Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
  • Denver was hoping that Parsons would fall one more pick, but alas, they have to settle. Cosmi is one of the most physically talented OTs in the draft, and although he is raw, he’s got plenty of ability and potential. John Elway grabs his hopeful franchise LT to protect Drew Lock.
ATL - Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
  • One of the fastest risers in the draft, Paye is physically dominant as an EDGE rusher and has the production to back it up. Atlanta could have taken a QB here, but considering that they have Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley both in their primes at the moment, they decide to stick with Matt Ryan - for the short term, instead of spending a massive asset on a rookie QB and waiting on him. Paye can become one of the best DL in the league, and replaces Takkarist McKinley.
MIN - Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
  • Another team that could have taken a QB - Minnesota passes on the hometown kid, Lance, in favor for an interior lineman. While QB would be ideal here, Kirk Cousins’ contract is a behemoth, and it does not afford the Vikings a real opportunity to get off that contract - Minnesota would be better off shoring up the rest of their team, and looking for a new QB in the future, while sticking with Cousins short-term.
SF - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
  • The Garoppolo era is over - and the new era of Trey Lance begins in San Francisco. Lance is the only QB of the “big four” who exclusively works in a pro-style offense, and under center. His big arm, mobility, and IQ on the football field will be a welcome sight for 49ers fans who have seen none of those under the last couple years with Garoppolo at the helm. Lance, although in a weak conference, has showcased both elite ability as a pocket passer and a runner, with exceptional touch on deep balls. He can stand in the pocket, deliver while taking a hit, and Kyle Shanahan will like all of that. Great decision maker, and he limits turnovers.
NE - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
  • Bill Belichick misses out on the last remaining big QB. He instead opts for the premier offensive weapon in the class, Kyle Pitts. Pitts is in the running for the Heisman. As a TE. Yeah. Belichick adds Pitts to a weakened Patriots offense in desperate need for a big weapon like Pitts, and he steps into the 6 foot 6 inch, 265 pound gap left by Rob Gronkowski in Foxborough.
CAR - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
  • With Teddy playing very well, Carolina likely opts to reinforce their defense, after doing so already last season. Their offense is all but set, with stars like McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuel already in the mix - but the biggest problem is the defense. While they could go LB to replace Kuechly, why not provide one more big time player in the secondary. With Donte Jackson, Caleb Farley, Jeremy Chinn, and more, Carolina has the makings of a great defense.
LV - Marvin Wilson, IDL, Florida State
  • They will go DL and the BPA in that case is FSU’s Marvin Wilson. The big man has been one of the best interior DL in college for a very long time and will continue to do so in Vegas, and provides a physical presence next to Maurice Hurst, Clelin Ferrell, and Maxx Crosby. This is a reach, but the Raiders bet that Wilson can recapture his previous level of play in an NFL program.
CLE - Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
  • Moses, physically, is one of the most talented LB prospects in the draft. A thumper at LB, Moses has seen everything coming from the long list of star Alabama LBs in recent years - but there are question marks. Before his ACL injury, Moses was supposed to go top 10, but after, his play level, and instincts have declined and he looks a step slow. Still, Cleveland opts to grab Moses and place him next to Mack Wilson, giving the Cleveland defense the leader and MIKE LB they need and that they had lost in Joe Schobert.
JAX - Pat Friermuth, TE, Penn State
  • Friermuth has drawn Gronk comparisons as a big, bulky target over the middle with blocking capability and red-zone dominance. While he may never reach that level, this is a no-brainer at 18 - Jacksonville gets Justin Fields his safety blanket for the next 5 years or more, and fills one of their biggest needs on the offensive end of the ball.
PHI - JaMarr Chase, WR, LSU
  • Philly fans are likely screaming in joy. Arguably the best WR in the draft drops all the way to 19, and right into the lap of Doug Peterson. Carson Wentz finally gets his #1 WR, and it’s a good one. Next to Jalen Reagor, Chase forms a lethal duo and both complement each other perfectly. He has everything a WR needs, and although he is not exceptionally fast, his hands, route running, ball skills, and physicality more than make up for it. He drops partly due to his speed not being amazing and recency bias favoring Jaylen Waddle.
TEN - Jay Tufele, DT, USC
  • Tufele is a gifted defensive tackle - with good athleticism, technique, and all-around ability, and young as well, he is nowhere near his ceiling both as a pass rusher and run defender. He can be a 3 down player and can start day one, and for a contender like Tennessee, that makes perfect sense. They shore up the DL again, with three pieces set in stone - Harold Landry, Jeffery Simmons, and now, Tufele.
MIA - Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
  • With Preston Williams, DeVante Parker, and Jakeem Grant, the Dolphins have a good WR corps. But they need that final piece, the #1 - and Smith is exactly that. Tua gets his favorite target back, as Smith follows in the footsteps of the Alabama route-runners before him in Jerry Jeudy, Calvin Ridley, and Amari Cooper. He is thin, but strong at the same time, showcasing good speed, elite route running, elusiveness, and hands, giving Tua the target he needs.
CHI - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
  • The SAVIOR! The Trubisky saga is over, and Nick Foles time is short lived in Chicago as well. Chicago opts for Mac Jones, the signal caller from Alabama. Jones is an experienced QB - but the sample size of him playing well is small. Armed with an elite deep ball, a good arm, and functional mobility, Jones works in a pro-style system and is one of the few QBs that could start Day 1 in the NFL. With great decision making and ability to read the field, while playing tough defenses in the SEC - Jones opens up the entire playbook for Chicago because he can throw to any part of the field. They could take Kyle Trask, but instead opt for the higher ceiling in Mac Jones.
NO - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
  • A WR would also be a fit here next to Michael Thomas, but with Mac Jones gone, the Saints opt to add another LB next to the aging DeMario Davis and questionable Kwon Alexander. J.O.K. is a talented LB who can lineup at anywhere from MIKE, to S, to OLB, and do it at a high level. Great in coverage, and can play against TEs and occasionally WRs in the slot. He’s a defensive weapon for Sean Payton.
BUF - Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
  • Tre White gets a partner in crime. Wade falls all the way to 24, where Sean McDermott picks up the best fit at corner for his scheme. Wade is exceptional both in press and in zone, and is an explosive and fast athlete with some swagger when tackling. He can work both outside or in the slot, and while he has some issues against taller and bigger WRs, it’s nothing that cannot be ironed out. The Bills form an elite, top 3 defense with Wade in the fold.
IND - Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
  • A QB could make sense here, but Trask once again falls as Indianpolis decides to stick with one of the three in Rivers, Brissett, or the Uber-talented rookie in Jacob Eason. Instead, they grab the best safety in the class in Jevon Holland. Holland is a do-it-all safety with great coverage ability, and a lot of range - and he gives the Colts a player they can plug and play at either FS or SS. Malik Hooker simply has not worked out for the Colts due to health reasons, so the Colts grab a long term starter at S.
ARI - Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
  • Kyler Murray gets his old friend from Oklahoma. Humphrey is a plug-and-play center or guard prospect in the NFL and gives Murray some much needed familiarity - and at a big position of need. Arizona’s biggest focus should be protecting Murray, and Humphrey is a strong, technical stalwart in the interior, which is key against the NFC West’s talent like Aaron Donald, Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, and more.
GB - Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
  • Aaron Rodgers will riot if this pick is not another weapon. Despite the defensive short comings for the Packers, they have to take WR here - it’s holding back their offense. They opt for Rondale Moore, the explosive WR from Purdue. Moore is a game-changer with the ball in his hands, a YAC machine who will destroy you in the open field. And that is a perfect compliment to Davante Adams, as Moore can lineup anywhere, from RB, to the SLOT, to outside WR. Aaron Rodgers has clearly missed Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb - but Moore brings what Cobb also brought to the table.
BAL - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
  • The speed demon in Marquise Brown is already there - but the Ravens need a true #1. Bateman brings a physical, big presence at WR, something Lamar has not had since college, and something he really needs. Bateman’s sure hands, body control, contested catch ability, and explosiveness is exactly what the Ravens need - as the final piece in a juggernaut of an offense being created. With Mark Andrews, JK Dobbins, Marquise Brown, Jackson, and now Bateman in the fold, Jackson’s full ability as a passer can be unleashed and the Ravens offense with that.
TB - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
  • When in doubt, take the Bama player. In all seriousness, there are plenty of options the Buccaneers can go with here - but clearly, reinforcing the DL is the most popular way of doing so. Barmore next to Vita Vea gives the Buccaneers a great duo, with Barmore a perfect candidate to play the 3-tech. He’s raw but plenty of growing room.
PIT - Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
  • Trask finally comes off the board, and to arguably the perfect team. Trask is not ready to start in the NFL day one - but he can be that guy in the future. Although he does not possess an amazing arm, he has all the intangibles, accuracy, and decision making to become the QBOTF in Pittsburgh. Trask’s biggest issue is his footwork - if he can fix that, everything else will fall into place. He possesses the physical attributes to be a star, tall, built strong, and he is fearless in the pocket. The throwing motion is good, but the overall mechanics in combination with the footwork need improvement. Fortunately, he will have time to do so under Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.
KC - Carlos Basham, DE, Wake Forest
  • Basically any pick is a luxury pick for Kansas City, but they opt for Basham here. Basham is a sure-thing, he won’t be a superstar, but he will be a very good defensive end. He is strong, big, and possesses both good burst and good technique - and forms a great duo across from Frank Clark.
NYJ - Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
  • While they could take Etienne here, instead of the next pick right after, they take Carman first - for the 5th round option. RBs are usually easy to keep, but that 5th year option if Carman pans out will be massive. The Jets grab Trevor Lawrence two familiar faces back to back, in order to appease their new franchise QB, who may not have been enthusiastic to be drafted by NY.

2nd round:

NYJ - Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
  • Jets grab another familiar face, this time in the best RB in the draft. Lawrence feeling at home. Etienne has incredible speed, acceleration, and is a complete RB, being able to play on 3rd down. The Jets get a dynamic weapon, a stark contrast to the slow and steady Le’Veon Bell.
JAX - Trey Smith, OT/OG, Tennessee
  • If Justin Fields is going to succeed, the Jaguars need to step it up everywhere. They’ve addressed TE, now they address the OL, with Smith. Rock-solid lineman with versatility, Smith is one of the best pass protectors in the draft.
WAS - Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
  • First step in Washington with new management in the fold is building a new culture. Support players - and Surratt is squeaky clean off the field with academic awards and more. But really, this is about football - Surratt is a very good possession WR and fits next to McLaurin well, giving Zach Wilson a big target with soft hands and good speed.
NYG - Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
  • Passing on Sewell hurts - but Mayfield makes up for it. A very high potential player at OT, Mayfield can play at RT or LT, depending on where the Giants shift the struggling Andrew Thomas. Saquon Barkley breathes a sigh of relief.
CIN - Terence Marshall Jr, WR, LSU
  • Familiar target? Check. AJ Green is likely out of Cincinnati after this season, and Marshall can perfectly fit in as a height-weight-speed freak with production. Marshall can be the #1 WR in Cincy.
DAL - Caden Sterns, S, Texas
  • Strengthening this defense is key - and the next step is at safety. Sterns fits the bill as a playmaking coverage safety who can play in man or zone, helping this Cowboys pass defense take the next step.
LAC - Walker Little, OT, Stanford
  • Two tackles in a row? With a QB like Herbert, you need it. With Trai Turner, Leatherwood, Little, and Lamp on the OL, Herbert will have good protection and for a long time with two new bookend tackles. Little is a great fit at RT, with Leatherwood slotting on the left. Good technique, great size, and great length.
DET - Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
  • Taking the Ann Arbor product, McGrone has sky-high potential as a three down LB with sideline to sideline speed. Detroit gets the chosen one at their biggest need.
MIA - Quincy Roche, DE, Miami
  • Besides the Miami connection, this is a no-brainer. Roche drops to the 2nd, where Brian Flores picks him up to reinforce a pass rush in need of a speedy, bendy edge rusher like Roche. Big time pick up, as Miami is nailing the draft.
DEN - Jaylen Twyman, DT, Pittsburgh
  • Von Miller and Jurrell Casey should return next season, giving the Broncos a fearsome trio combined with Bradley Chubb. Twyman is the final piece and gives them a longterm solution. An explosive, undersized DL, Twyman is already an elite pass rusher on the interior with room to grow.
ATL - Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU
  • Narrowly missing on Twyman, they settle for Shelvin, the behemoth DT from LSU - a great fit next to Grady Jarrett, Dante Fowler, and now Kwity Paye. Shelvin can swallow up double teams.
JAX - Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh
  • Fields is in the fold, but that does not mean Jacksonville ignores the defense. They get a good safety in Paris Ford, a guy who is always around the ball. With Josh Allen, Chaisson, Myles Jack, CJ Henderson, and now Ford, they have high potential guys on every level of the ball.
SF - Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
  • Dee Ford is likely gone… so the 49ers need a speed rusher, an athletic one for DL coach Kris Kocurek to mold. While very raw, Oweh is a physical freak with speed, a quick first step, strength, and bend. He is not a finished product, and will be limited to pass rush duties in his first years, but once he develops, watch out.
NE - Joseph Ossai, EDGE/LB, Texas
  • Bill Belichick runs to the podium for this pick. Home run for NE, as they grab the perfect player they need at LB and the DL - someone who can fill the position that Jamie Collins left years ago. Ossai is very raw but Bill Belichick will savor getting a LB that he can mold in whatever way he wants for his defense. This is a perfect fit.
CAR - Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
  • A smart, fast and instinctive LB, Cox will not replace Luke Kuechly, but he can help. Next to Shaq Thompson, the Panthers have filled a lot of their holes already - and it’s still the 2nd round.
LV - Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
  • Cisco gives the Raiders a nice, young, and talented safety duo in their secondary with Abram as well. Raiders continue to strengthen the defense. Cisco is coming off a torn ACL but is talented and was a 1st round prospect, arguably, until his injury.
CLE - Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
  • Odell Beckham Jr is likely done - and either way, Baker Mayfield needs a new target, preferable one that can play in the slot or outside. St. Brown has great hands, great route running, and good speed. Cleveland has a big need at EDGE, but they opt to get their young QB one more target in hopes of a breakout season.
LAR - Josh Myers, OG, Ohio State
  • They could take a LB here, but Myers dropping this low is a no-brainer. The Rams add another athletic and polished OL. Myers is a good fit for the zone scheme that Sean McVay runs, and fill one of their most pressing needs. Jared Goff is not Jared Goff under pressure - this is the way to keep this offense chugging… investing in the OL, especially in the brutal NFC West.
PHI - Hamsah Nasirlideen, LB/S, Florida State
  • Perfect fit. Nasirlideen can play at safety or LB, and is physically incredible. Knack for forcing turnovers and he is a sure tackler, and although he has some coverage issues, he is still good vs. TEs and slot WRs at times. Philly gets a tone-setter at LB, their biggest need, or at S, arguably the 2nd biggest need.
TEN - Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
  • The battle is won in the trenches. The Titans don’t have many needs, but strengthening the OL is always a good idea.
MIA - Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
  • Miami is nailing the draft. Faalele is the most physically impressive prospect in this class, with great athleticism despite being 6 foot 9 inches and nearly 400 pounds. He’s a freak, and a perfect candidate to play at RT and protect Tua Tagovailoa’s blind side. Tua is very happy right now!
CHI - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
  • Grabbing another athletic, and technically sound OL - Vera-Tucker fits Chicago’s needs well, especially with long-time starter Kyle Long retired.
NO - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
  • New Orleans needs a true #2 WR next to Michael Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders is the short-term for that. Toney is the long-term solution. Explosive YAC threat, Toney is a perfect fit in the West Coast offense that Sean Payton runs, and is seemingly uncatchable in the open field - and he comes with versatility, as a former QB; we know Sean Payton likes that.
BUF - Patrick Jones II, DE, Pittsburgh
  • The Bills need more from their DL to take their defense to the next level. Jerry Hughes is already 32, and by taking Jones, an explosive pass rusher with good technique and great size. Across from AJ Epenesa, Buffalo has two good EDGE rushers to anchor a DL and give Ed Oliver some help.
IND - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
  • He does not have very much burst or an elite first step, but Hutchinson’s pursuit ability, motor, and strength are up there with the best. He’s inexperienced but he has a good assortment of pass rush moves, and offers versatility too - he is 280 pounds. IND gets a guy that they can play 3-4 DE, 4-3 DE, the three tech, or even 3-4 OLB if needed.
ARI - Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
  • Crazy talented athlete, Campbell is raw but he has a ton of potential. Great hips, great recovery speed, and he can run with anyone. Good size, he’s a player that can play in most if not all schemes, with the ability to play bump and run, press, zone, or man.
GB - Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
  • Adding two explosive weapons to an offense that already had Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams is stupid. That’s exactly what happens here - Green Bay grabs their TE of the future, in Jordan. Jordan is a gifted athlete with a lot of speed and explosiveness, built in the molds of the new wave of TEs like George Kittle, Noah Fant, and more. Green Bay now has weapons everywhere and are poised for the short-term with Rodgers, and the long term with Love.
BAL - Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
  • They took Patrick Queen last year, but they still need one more guy on that defense. While they have a pressing need at safety, Surratt’s potential is too much to pass up. Super talented with instincts, Surratt is a former QB and inexperienced, yet he has shown massive ability. High character and the leader the Ravens need on defense.
TB - Alec Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
  • Always pick the OL when unsure. Lindstrom is polished and although he does not possess a high ceiling, he should be a good starter in the NFL for a long time. Protect Brady.
PIT - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
  • Joe Haden is aging and Pittsburgh needs a boost of youth in the secondary to match Minkah Fitzpatrick. Horn has been one of the breakout stars this college season, and it’s a wonder he even dropped this far.
KC - Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
  • LDT’s status is unclear beyond this season, and besides, the Chiefs have needed a boost in the OL for a while. This is a trend - contending teams without weaknesses will almost always opt to strengthen the trenches.
SEA - Joe Tryon, DE, Washington
  • Tryon is far from a finished product but would represent the most hope Seattle has had at pass rush in a very long time. He is big, lengthy, has good burst, and good hand placement, and has a very high ceiling. The UW product stays in Seattle.

3rd round:

NYJ - Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
  • If the CB class was not so stacked this year, Stokes would have had a shot to go in the 1st. Either way, the Jets grab a talented, twitchy corner from Georgia with a knack for forcing turnovers. Stokes can be a #1 CB if developed correctly. Great in press coverage especially.
JAX - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
  • Justin Fields’ favorite target joins him in Jacksonville. He is really polished in everything a WR needs - great route runner, great hands, and he can contort his body to make some tough catches. He is limited physically, that frame is not going to be able to take an NFL season. He is going to have to bulk up, but Fields gets a classic #2 WR who can play in the slot or outside.
WAS - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
  • Scheme-versatile, athletic, physical. He checks most boxes - he needs work on his technique, specifically when he comes out of his stance, but moving him to guard would eliminate that need. He can anchor himself well too.
NYG - Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
  • Prototypical X WR that fits well next to Darius Slayton. Williams cannot separate much, but with his hands and body control, is a great possession WR who will consistently make contested catches. Red-zone threat with upside.
CIN - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
  • Two-down run defender with upside. He’s got a lot of athleticism and improving technique, but outside of the run-game, he can’t do much right now. Good fit, both for Cincinnati’s needs and also scheme.
DAL - Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson
  • Weird prospect. He switched from WR to CB in college, so he is still clearly learning the nuances of being a corner, but you can see what he can be vs. what he is now. Kendrick is not going to wow anyone for a while, but if Dallas can develop him right, he can be very good. Very much a long-term pickup.
LAC - Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
  • He is really good with the play in front of him, classic slot corner. Good acceleration and he is a good tackler. He’s scheme-versatile, and with good hips, he can play off-man and press if needed. Good and easy replacement for Desmond King in the slot for the Chargers, especially with the aging Chris Harris. Samuel can get bullied by bigger WRs so DCs need to be careful with matchups, at least til he can get stronger.
DET - Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
  • Quandre Diggs being traded last season left a gaping hole in their secondary. Moehrig is a very good centerfield type safety with ball hawking ability and really good instincts. He’s got issues tackling, but most deep safeties have the same issues. Big time potential.
HOU - Alaric Jackson, OG, Iowa
  • Protecting DeShaun Watson needs to be the goal - Jackson is a good fit for Houston. Strong with good athleticism, Jackson has played at tackle for a long time at Iowa, but his flexibility and length limit him. He will move to guard - but that’s exactly what Houston needs.
DEN - Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
  • A tough inside LB with good closing speed and size, Rice is a good candidate as a WILL LB with coverage skills as well. He is a step late on some plays while diagnosing - which along with his size prevents him from playing at midde linebacker.
ATL - D’Eriq King, QB, Miami
  • Surprise! Well, not really. I expect Atlanta to hire a modern OC, and that means a modern QB is needed. King fits the bill as a dual-threat QB with a great arm. I really like his feel for the game, his arm talent, his improving accuracy, and anticipation, and the natural ability to extend plays and make throws on the run or scramble is great too. King may be undersized, but he makes up for it with his elusiveness and build. Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson succeeded, King can as well. Why not pick Trey Lance in the 1st? No matter what, the QB they pick will be a project. It would be better to invest in other positions early, and still grab the QB of the future late. He’s not Quinton Flowers, or JT Barrett - he’s much more. Great anticipation, strong arm, and he makes plays.
MIN - Azeez Ojulari, DE, Georgia
  • Really good bend and speed off the EDGE. He is another raw EDGE rusher, which is plentiful in this draft - but Minnesota needs a guy they can develop, just as they did with Danielle Hunter.
WAS - Grant Calcaterra, TE, Oklahoma
  • Weapons, weapons, weapons. Wilson needs all he can get, and now he has two talented WRs in Surratt and McLaurin, and Calcaterra joins that group. There are massive injury concerns with Calcaterra - he retired due to concussions and then returned earlier this season - but when he was healthy, he was considered a top TE in College Football. This is very much a bet for Washington, but it could pay off massive dividends.
NE - VOIDED by NFL
CAR - Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
  • NFL-ready frame and he’s got really good length. He can hold his own against most pass rushers, speed or power. Athleticism is average though - he is better off in a power-scheme more than anything else.
LV - Cade Mays, OG, Tennessee
  • Nasty and strong, especially in the run game. Jon Gruden will love this guy, but he needs to get more disciplined especially with his footwork and stance - when he maintains his leverage, he is elite. Needs to get more polished but the potential is there.
CLE - Richard LeCounte III, S, Georgia
  • Size is an issue with LeCounte, but his ball skills and instincts are great, as is his football IQ. He will be able to start Day One in the NFL - and with Grant Delpit at SS, LeCounte is a nice pairing at FS. Browns strengthen the defense again.
LAR - Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
  • Rams biggest need is probably LB - but they wait til the 3rd to grab one. Bolton is a monster in the run-game, super hard hitter and he’s got good instincts to guess the gap and go. He’s limited in the passing game, but once again - he’s got plenty of time and potential to iron that out. Better in zone, as most LBs are.
PHI - Kary Vincent Jr, CB, LSU
  • Really good slot corner. Super twitchy with really quick feet - he can mirror anyone in the slot. The problem is with his size - but in general, this guy can play. He needs work on his tackling and hand fighting at the line but as a man-coverage type, Philly can’t get much better at this point in the draft.
TEN - Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
  • He’s just good at everything. Not a game-changing playmaker at TE, but he gets the job done and can do anything asked of a TE. Tennessee will love his blocking and good athleticism.
MIA - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
  • As if Miami wasn’t already nailing this draft, this puts the cherry on top. Harris in the 3rd is incredible value - he’s physical, fast, elusive, and does everything a RB is supposed to do. Every-down RB. TD machine and he will always fall forward - he’s the alpha they need at RB, and a good compliment to Myles Gaskin. Another familiar face for Tua Tagovailoa.
CHI - Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
  • The Bears need that extra #2 WR, Schwartz brings exactly that. Anthony Miller is better off in the slot, and while Allen Robinson is awesome, both Miller and Robinson cannot take the top off a defense like Schwartz can. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands and is still improving. His frame is very flimsy however, and he’s got some issues blocking - but you can see his role in Matt Nagy’s offense.
CLE - Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
  • They need a space eater next to Myles Garrett. Onwuzurike brings that and more to the table.
BUF - Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina
  • Gabriel Davis and Stefan Diggs are great, but Buffalo lacks a threat at slot WR - John Brown and Cole Beasley are again. Newsome is explosive, lightning quick, and has very good route running and elusiveness in the open field.
IND - Shaka Toney, DE, Penn State
  • Another DE? Justin Houston is aging, and if Indianapolis wants to keep building their defense, this is necessary to give DeForest Buckner some help. Toney is not ready to be an every-down player, but as most Penn State products are - he is gifted as an athlete. He’s got plenty of potential as a pass rusher.
ARI - Darius Stills, DT, West Virginia
  • There are questions about his run defense and is not disciplined as a DT should be. He more than makes up for it with his disruptiveness as a pass rusher. Rare get-off for a DT, and his size lends hm and advantage because he is so powerful and fast with good leverage.
GB - Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin
  • Hard hitter with ball production tends to work out in the NFL. He’s a fine athlete and is a quick diagnosed of plays, and while his run defense is great, his coverage skills are better. Not often does a LB log multiple interceptions in one season, but Sanborn did just that. Do-it-all LB for the Packers, although he has some limitations.
MIN - Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
  • Versatile weapon with a ton of speed and elusiveness. The production matches the skillset, and he brings the presence the Vikings need next to Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen for the next couple of years.
TB - Kolby Harvell-Peel, S, Oklahoma State
  • He isn’t much of a coverage safety, but Harvell-Peel is a fantastic run defender and tackler at safety. He’s not a liability, but he is not someone you want covering the back-end on third down either way. Harvell-Peel gives Bruce Arians a piece that he can shift anywhere, from LB to SS to slot CB if necessary, and he can get physical in the trenches and hold his own.
PIT - Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
  • Ruckert is a smooth athlete at TE and a very good blocker too. Despite not having much opportunity at OSU, Ruckert made the most of it - he’s got great hands as well. Pittsburgh grabs the future safety blanket for Kyle Trask… and forms a duo with Eric Ebron.
KC - Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
  • Reinforcing this defense again. Adebo is a good zone and press corner. He’s got limitations, but he’s still developing and could be very good in the future.
NYJ - Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
  • If you ain’t noticed a trend by now, I don’t know what to say. But really, the Jets know that they aren’t exactly enticing for Lawrence. Making it feel like home for him is very important, both for his development and also for the future. They’ve alienated their defensive savant in Jamal Adams, they can’t have this happen again. Ross is mega-talented, but his neck injury last season caused him to drop from a 1st round prospect to a late 3rd prospect. Regardless, if the Jets can get Denzel Mims, Justyn Ross, Travis Etienne, plus two bookend tackles in Mekhi Becton and Jackson Carman - Trevor Lawrence has something he can work with. Ross is a prototypical #1 WR, with height-weight-speed measurements perfect and the production to back it up.
submitted by riqonator to NFL_Draft

Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 16, 1988

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
• PREVIOUS •
1987
FUTURE YEARS ARCHIVE:
The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
1-4-1988 1-11-1988 1-18-1988 1-25-1988
2-1-1988 2-8-1988 2-15-1988 2-22-1988
2-29-1988 3-7-1988 3-14-1988 3-21-1988
3-28-1988 4-4-1988 4-11-1988 4-18-1988
4-25-1988 5-2-1988 5-9-1988 *
  • The big stories this week really won’t hit until late in the issue, so read down I guess.
  • [NWA] The Midnight Rider angle lasted just a whole two weeks after his initial arrival. The whole thing began just four or five weeks back with a baseball bat and punching Magnum T.A., and all that work was wasted when they pulled the plug. The Midnight Rider gimmick just wasn’t working, so they did an official announcement that Paul Boesch convinced the NWA board to reinstate Dusty. All the panicked decisions lately leave Dave with the impression that the NWA is in worse shape than they seemed to be a few weeks back, and things don’t look likely to change any time soon. More of a surprise to Dave than the fact that it wasn’t working is the fact that they did it so quickly when the angle was supposed to last through the summer. He thinks that has to be hard on Dusty’s ego. So them setting up a feud between Dusty and Barry Windham when the logical feud should be Luger and Windham seems a desperate move to placate Dusty. And there’s no predicting what the NWA will do next, because the people in charge don’t seem to know what they’re doing week to week.
  • Ex-NFL star Steve Courson makes his pro wrestling debut this week at a Pennsylvania independent show. He’s barely trained and being rushed into the ring to capitalize off his NFL fame. The guy was a heavy steroid user back in the NFL and admitted as much, and his career ended due to health issues a couple years ago. Nevertheless, he’s got an anti-steroid book about to hit bookshelves. Seems carny enough for the business.
  • Roddy Piper showed up at Don Owen’s April 30 card in Portland. Billy Jack Haynes’ rival promotion debuted on May 7 and starts its tv program on May 14. Haynes claims he didn’t delay a week due to Piper’s April 30 appearance, but because his ring lights were late in arriving. They were lighting Chris Adams’ ring, I’m sure. Anyway, Piper showed up in the interview area and never entered the ring, and when Mike Golden told Piper to scram during his interview, Piper acted passive and backed off to help put Golden over. Golden then produced a contract for a match on May 7 and tried to goad Piper into a match, to which Piper retorted he’s lost a lot of weight and isn’t a fighter anymore, only to finally get into it with Golden after more taunting and Golden spitting on him. Fans left with the idea that Piper would fight Golden, but Piper never appeared on May 7 and no announcement of them having a match took place.
  • Variety Magazine reports that all the weekly pro wrestling shows have dropped out of the top 15 in syndicated ratings. So the real story is the way that the wrestling shows made it into the top 15 in the first page. The WWF network had 5 shows, Crockett network had 4, and All-Star Wrestling network had at least 6, and each of those packages added up the ratings of all the shows in them and reported that rating. Compare to say, Wheel of Fortune, which is just the one show, and so you had the combined ratings of anywhere from 4-6+ shows trying to act like all the shows in that package were competitive ad space to a show like Wheel or Jeopardy, which is unfair to those single shows that pull in massive ratings. Anyway, those who calculate ratings have done away with those network packages in their calculations to level the playing field, so WWF isn’t getting ahead of Oprah and her single show’s 9 rating by combining five shows to pull a 10 rating anymore. Superstars, which is definitely WWF’s most watched show, doesn’t even come close to the top 15 on its own. For Dave, this isn’t a big deal, other than that it’ll be harder to track ratings, which are the best way to measure interest at the moment. Dave’s tv industry contacts think this is a big blow to wrestling as an industry, however, and more damaging to Crockett than McMahon since Vince has sold most of his ad slots for the year already. Nothing has materially changed, but advertisers are going to see wrestling as less hot, and their places in the top 15 have been taken by shows like Love Connection, Star Search, and Hollywood Squares. A wrestling network package might offer the same number of viewers, but advertisers look at the rankings to decide what’s hot, and wrestling’s not going to appear there anymore, and their ads in trade publications won’t be able to boast WWF or NWA as among the highest rated networks in syndication. Long story short, Promoters are going to have to chase advertising dollars rather than advertisers chasing promotions, and that spells an eventual downturn for the business.
  • [NWA] Clash of the Champions II, called Miami Mayhem, has been announced for June 8. Dave gets the feeling that it won’t be as hot a show as the first Clash and that those in the company think they might have given away too much on the first and thus hurt themselves at the gate. Dave thinks they did indeed give a lot, but they also failed to take advantage of a lot. Like, the barbed wire match was the end of a feud and they didn’t even know it because despite the heels being beaten quick and clean, they’re still running the match when there’s no point in continuing the feud. Dave thinks they had a lot of momentum coming off the first clash and they squashed it by downplaying everything in favor of the now-aborted Midnight Rider angle.
  • Randy Savage is now being billed as Undisputed WWF Champion. They’ve dropped the word “heavyweight” and Dave’s been told they’re planning to no longer use it, for whatever that’s worth.
  • WWF is working on a bunch of non-wrestling specials. Kind of like the Slammy Awards in the way they’ll sell the shows and in their hopes for ratings. Dave hopes not similar in terms of quality, at least.
  • Managers Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Hart, and Frenchy Martin appeared on WWF’s May 7 Boston house show. No idea if it’s just certain New England cities they’ll appear in or what, but yeah, that’s the update on the managers at house shows thing.
  • Dave and his friends were joking that Ultimate Warrior vs. Andre the Giant would be the worst possible match this generation. Lo and behold, Dave found out that they put that match on a few weeks back in Switzerland on a European tour. Dave asks “What did the Swiss ever do to Vince McMahon?” I can't find anything from Switzerland, but I did find a clip from Italy on that same tour.
Watch: Andre vs. Warrior
  • Dave saw the program for the Central States April 28 show in Kansas City and it’s the funniest thing he’s seen in a while. The program talks about the Freebirds (supposed to be coming in) and says they’re managed by Michael Hayes, and it has a picture of Hayes taken from their original heel days in Georgia in 1980. Bob Geigel runs the promotion and makes his own programs, and it’s good to see how up to date he’s managed to be.
  • Ken Mantell sent a letter to every promotion except WWF and NWA offering for World Class to work with them. World Class isn’t running a full-time schedule, so Mantell’s looking for ways to get his guys out there, but they only have a couple guys with any significant name value. Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Terry Taylor, and maybe Chris Adams could give a boost to a promotion getting into things with a local babyface, but just sending Taylor and Adams to have a match against each other won’t help anyone (they did that for the May 2 show in Memphis). Talent sharing isn’t helpful to the other promotions unless they can do a tv angle or work several shows rather than a one-off date (with the rare exception of a Michael Hayes date in Atlanta, or Gordy doing an independent show with a match against Brody or Abdullah).
  • [Memphis] Eddie Gilbert beat Jerry Lawler on May 2 to keep Missy Hyatt’s hair on her head. The finish saw Lawler punch Paul E. Dangerously (who manages Gilbert in Continental) after Missy failed to distract Lawler with her open shirt trick. Dangerously showed up when Lawler went after her, and then Kenny Dee, who was managing Lawler, threw powder in Lawler’s eyes, leading to Gilbert getting the pin. Money wound up changing hands from Dangerously to Hyatt to Dee after the match, so Kenny Dee is a newly minted heel manager.
  • Also in Memphis, the Iceman King Parsons vs. Kerry Von Erich match from the same show got little reaction. People came to see Lawler and Gilbert, not them, and Dave still doesn’t understand putting this match on and billing Parsons as a world champion when the next show is Lawler vs. Hennig for the AWA World Title. It’s just undercutting that match to act like the WCCW title is a world title and then turn around and go “Well here’s a different world title” and being very inconsistent in their recognition of world championships.
  • More on the special referee poll for the May 9 LawleHennig match. They’re running the poll from a 1-900 number (which means a cost of $1 per phone call), so the company was profiting off the poll. That explains the amount of promotion they were doing saying that Larry Hennig was winning the poll by a narrow margin due to fans in Minnesota flooding the line with votes for Hennig. They were doing no such thing, but it’s a smart way to bilk the local fan base. In Memphis, they run their tv show live, so when it started at 11 am, they did a segment where they said the poll would close at noon (Hennig still leading the results) to keep fans voting until the last minute, even doing another segment at 11:45 am. At noon, Lawler came out and acted all serious with his best Bad News Barrett impression and said he was afraid he had some bad news. “Bad news for Curt Hennig, that is,” and announced Jackie Fargo was the winner of the referee poll. Dave guesses the reason for the charge is probably to drum up enough money to pay Curt Hennig enough to be happy, but this sure is a new way to try and make money off wrestling.
  • There’s a newcomer in the Oregon territory named Steve Austin. No, he’s not stone cold, but he’s also used the name Steve Winters (Dave believes this is his real name), and he’ll wind up wrestling for Stampede in the future under the name Lance Idol. Dave’s seen him a bit before in his early days in the Bay area and recalls him being a good worker trying to emulate Ray Stevens in style.
  • Don Owen’s May 7 show had the best case for allowing blading that Dave has ever heard of. They had a Northwest Tag Title cage match with Steve Doll and Scott Peterson beating Avalanche and Mike Golden to regain the titles. Owen believes you need blood in a cage match, while the Oregon commission has banned blading, so how do you suppose Owen got around the issue? Mike Golden got bloody hardway, and they wanted Peterson to bleed too, so they had Golden and Avalanche try to hardway Peterson with potatoes to the forehead. Dave hears they did some 14 hard punches to Peterson’s head and none of them opened him up. One did bust up his nose a bit, though. This is what happens when blading is banned and wrestlers feel the need to get color - they’re going to be really unsafe and hurt themselves.
  • Tatsumi Fujinami beat Vader by countout on April 27, in a show that drew 5,000 in Osaka. For comparison, All Japan’s Brody/Tenryu match there last month drew 4,000. Fujinami had vowed to retire if he couldn’t beat Vader, so they kind of had to have that finish if they wanted Vader to keep his monster aura without honoring a retirement. Anyway, Dave isn’t sure if this is legit or just an angle, but Fujinami is being reported as trying to make a play for the top spot now that Inoki’s foot is broken. He’s even got a new haircut to symbolize his change from being a young disciple of Inoki to being his own man.
  • All Japan Women’s May 15 show has a hell of a triple main event lineup. At the top of the card you have the Crush Girls vs. the Jumping Bomb Angels. Then you have Mika Suzuki vs. Kaoru Maeda for the jr. championship (not a weight class, but rather a title exclusively for wrestlers with under 2 years experience). Lastly, Erika Shishido and Nobuko Kimura defend the AJW tag titles against two of the standout rookies from the class of 1987 who are getting their first crack at major exposure, Manami Toyota and Toshiyo Yamada. Erika Shishido, by the way, is a 17 year old from the class of 1986 and the company has big plans for her as a future heel star and partner for Bull Nakano. You may know her better as Aja Kong.
  • Windy City Wrestling drew remarkably well, drawing $40,000 at International Amphitheater in Chicago. It’s the largest gate Dave’s ever heard of for an independent promotion. The card had Col. DeBeers, Candi Divine and Debbie Combs, Paul E. Dangerously, Buddy Rose and Doug Somers, and a bunch else going on. Based on ticket prices, they pulled an audience of over 4,000 people. The promoter sold the show to the venue for $10,000, so they made a big profit on the event. WWF has taken notice and already there’s talk of them running the same venue, because they believe it may tap into a different crowd than the Rosemont Horizon.
  • [Stampede] Owen Hart’s reign as North American champion has ended as of May 6. He dropped the title to Makhan Singh, whom he beat for the title on April 10, 1987. Definitely a step toward Owen’s departure from the promotion here, as his last match with Stampede if he does go to the WWF will be on May 14 before he does the IWGP series for New Japan. Owen did agree to go to the WWF for a masked gimmick, either a Tiger Mask or Mighty Mouse type, but he’s apparently having second thoughts, perhaps related to a personal goal he supposedly has of having the match of the year with Ric Flair. Sadly, Owen’s never going to get that match. Bret and Davey Boy Smith are pushing hard for Owen to come to WWF.
  • Heading to Stampede is Steve Blackman. Blackman’s done some jobs for WWF in the past and is kind of a powerlifter type. He’s being paired with Brick Bronsky, whom Dave describes as an untalented lifter type (Dave rates the May 7 Edmonton match between Kerry Brown and Bronsky at -3.5 stars and calls it one of the worst matches Stampede will ever have), and their team name is the Abortion Alliance. Jeezus, Bruce.
  • A new women’s wrestling promotion is supposed to start up, doing tapings at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Wendi Richter and Misty Blue are said to be the top stars and Gordon Solie is said to be on board for announcing, and there’s supposedly tv contracts lined up.
  • Ted Turner is working on a new cable station called TNT. It’s gonna have a lot of MGM movies and sports events, and probably eventually some Crockett wrestling. The FCC is expected to change some regulations, which would put WTBS back to only being Atlanta-local and all the superstations will revert to local tv.
  • Looks like a lock that Financial News Network will be taking on Continental by the end of the month or early June. As for a deal with New Japan, that seems to be on hold, as neither side could come to an agreement.
  • Lawsuits corner. WWF is suing FNN over their Hulkamania package. Larry Sharpe is suing Bam Bam Bigelow for breach of contract. Sharpe was Bigelow’s real manager back in Japan.
  • The best match on an independent show in Brooklyn on April 29 saw Lou Fabiano (a former WWF jobber) team with Cactus Jack against George Skaaland and Tom Brandi. Cactus Jack is a trainee of Dominic DeNucci, and Dave hears that he’s a top flight worker.
  • Word is that Futahaguro (real name Koji Kitao), the yokozuna who got kicked out of sumo, is reporting to the Monster Factory in New Jersey to train under Larry Sharpe. He’s in New York this week on other business (mostly talk shows), so no definite word, but that’s the rumor coming out of the area.
  • The Von Erich Parade of Champions drew an estimated 7,000 fans. Dave anticipates a more accurate estimate and gate next week. The show was… Let me just give some highlights. The first match was terrible. The second match was mostly rest holds and had no heat, and after winning the match Mike George grabbed the mic to make sure the fans knew he was recognized as World Champion in Kansas City. Nobody cared because nobody cares about the Kansas City promotion. Steve Casey was supposed to challenge Eric Embry for the light heavyweight title, but he came in 1.5 pounds over the weight limit. After the crowd heckled Embry, he agreed to a non-title match, which Casey won in 19 seconds. That extra weight made all the difference, I reckon. Bill Irwin vs. Black Bart was fair. Then you had Michael Hayes vs. Terry Gordy in a triple tower of doom and Dave says that while there was heat, the gimmick’s a total dud because you can’t do any moves or take any bumps the way it’s all structured. They then gave the crowd something good, as Terry Taylor beat Chris Adams to keep the Texas title in a great match. The Texas roundup in the triple tower of doom, on the other hand, was the opposite of great. If Dusty plans to actually use this concept, he’s got a lot of work cut out for him, because not one fan in the building understood what the hell was going on. Bruiser Brody carried his match teaming with Kevin Von Erich against Buddy Roberts and Solomon Grundy, and nobody cared about Kevin. They had to replace Schaun Simpson with Terry Gordy due to injury suffered in the Texas roundup for the Wild West/Texas tag title unification match, and Gordy/Simpson won by disqualification. It’s unclear if that makes the Simpsons Wild West tag champs and Gordy/Simpson Texas tag champs, or if it unifies the titles on the Simpsons, or what. In the end, Kerry Von Erich regained the WCCW title. Nobody cares. World Class is every bit as fucked as WCW in 2000.
  • Dave’s got the lineup for the second Clash, and he thinks the NWA is now afraid to put on a hot show. Windham vs. Ricky Santana, Koloff vs. Al Perez, Dusty vs. Larry Zbysko, the Garvins vs. Rotunda and Rick Steiner, the Fantastics vs. Sheepherders for the U.S. Tag Titles, and Blanchard/Anderson defending the NWA tag titles against Sting and Steve Williams. No Flair, Luger, or Road Warriors in sight.
  • When the NWA announced Dusty’s reinstatement, the reaction was pretty negative. After a moment of silence, one woman cheered and two more joined her, and they were swiftly drowned in a chorus of boos.
  • Night 2 of the Crockett Cup grossed $115,000 at the gate. The Cup as a whole managed a combined gate equal to the merch sales gross at Wrestlemania.
  • They’re building a new Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and it’s supposed to open in the fall. Word is that WWF will get the first two shows there and Crockett will be relegated to the 2,500 seat Charlotte Park Center, since the old Coliseum building will be torn down. WWF can’t run the existing Coliseum for the same reasons Crockett can’t touch Madison Square Garden, but the new Coliseum has different management with no relationship to Crockett, so they’re going to give WWF a chance.
  • Gordon Solie and Mike Graham’s new Florida Championship Wrestling has opened up and did their first tv taping on April 30. They’re looking to run five days a week in central Florida starting real soon.
  • Antonio Inoki’s injury has led to New Japan declaring the IWGP Title vacant. Tatsumi Fujinami battles Vader on May 7 for the title. Seems to be a lot of behind the scenes tension between Fujinami and Choshu as well. Fujinami walked out after the April 27 show, leaving only Choshu of the original four top draws in the company.
  • Tiger Mask (Mitsuharu Misawa) is getting married on May 10 and will unmask for the wedding. He’s marrying movie star Tomomi Shiina. After the wedding he may stop wrestling as Tiger Mask and go back to his real name.
  • As soon as TNT is available in 30 million homes, Crockett’s tv will be moved there. All kinds of rumors are swirling about Crockett and Turner, but as far as Dave’s aware no firm deal of any kind has been reached.
  • The NWA, Mike Rotunda, Kevin Sullivan, and the city of Albany are all being sued for “torturous acts and personal injury” by 16 year old Mike Strickland. Strickland alleges that on February 9 he was patting wrestlers on the back when city police officers working security for the show seized him and arrested him, then took him to a secluded area where Rotunda and Sullivan “wilfully, intentionally and purposefully assaulted and attempted to commit violent and illegal physical injury” on him and that the police did nothing to stop the beating.
  • Dave wants us to know that although it was extremely predictable, he found the Midnight Express’s party on the WTBS show really entertaining. Yeah, when you have a cake in wrestling it winds up in the heel or announcer’s face, but the banter between Cornette and Stan Lane was really fun.
Watch: Jim Cornette gets caked
  • Ted Turner’s got some kind of package deal he’s pitching, using the July NWA ppv as incentive to get cable systems to buy in on TNT. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Dave understands that the cable companies will likely get a higher share of revenue for the PPV from the show than the usual 50/50 split, and Dave says this show is really do or die for Crockett.
  • Abdullah the Butcher and Kamala no-showed Jerry Blackwell’s May 8 show. They had turned down a spot at the Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions to do that show, so that’s ironic.
  • ”JERRY LAWLER PINNED CURT HENNIG TO WIN THE AWA TITLE ON 5/9 IN MEMPHIS BEFORE 9,500 FANS." The match was apparently “not great” and saw Lawler win by grabbing Hennig by the knees and kangaroo flipping him headlong into the ring post for the pin. Great reaction to the finish, but yeah, Lawler is the new AWA champion. More on this next week.
Watch: the finish to Lawler vs. Hennig
  • One letter writer chimes in that “loser groups” like GLOW and POWW don’t deserve time in the Observer. In fact, he hopes they lose their time slots in New York and Boston to Continental and Memphis to give WWF real competition. Yeah, because those groups are going to be able to do that.
  • Still a bunch of letters sniping back and forth about Clash vs. Wrestlemania. One says they can’t believe anyone could think FlaiSting was the best match they’ve seen in years. Another says that for “Vince McMahon to put WWF fans through that show constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.” As usual, wrestling fans are level-headed and gracious in their disagreements. It warms my soul to see us carrying on this proud tradition of sober discourse on reddit in 2020.
NEXT WEEK: AWA Champion Jerry Lawler, reports from Texas Stadium, Fujinami becomes IWGP champion, Oregon-Washington Wrestling Federation debut show, and more
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